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Christie eyes White House, but obstacles loom

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being urged to join the Republican presidential race, but he has no national political organization and no fundraising mechanism in place.

New York Times

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being urged to join the Republican presidential race, but he has no national political organization and no fundraising mechanism in place.

Considering that the current Republican presidential field is increasingly starting to look more dysfunctional than the Gadhafi family, it is perfectly understandable why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being nudged to jump into the race.

By all accounts the loquacious governor appears to be relatively sane and is not known to have associated himself with a hunting preserve named after a rather problematic racial epithet, which would suggest the GOP has set a fairly flexible bar for what constitutes presidential viability.

Still, while many old-guard Republicans may see Christie as a way to save them from themselves, running for president is not the same thing as one of those old Mickey Rooney Andy Hardy movies where someone says: "Hey, I have a great idea! Let's run for president! You get the money! You get the red, white and blue bunting! And you get all the votes! It's gonna be swell!"

No. No it's not.

As a ruminating Christie walks the moors of Hackensack humming Hail to the Chief, there are some cruel, hard, cold facts about pursuing the White House.

It is probably not a good sign Christie has surrounded himself with some veterans of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's disastrous 2008 presidential bid as he ponders a campaign.

Considering Giuliani blew through $59 million in 2008 and won one — count 'em: one — delegate in an inept, stumblebum, vanity campaign rivaling Charlie Sheen's bid to win his old sitcom job back, this would be a bit like Chris Christie heeding the counsel of Richard Nixon on how to pick up women.

Christie may well be the savior du jour/du minute for a party that happily surrendered its legacy, its core values and very probably its chances of returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. any time soon to the cultish political equivalent of the Moonies meet the Branch Davidians.

In mulling over a 2012 presidential run, Christie faces bigger hurdles than weigh-in day at Weight Watchers.

As of now he has no national political organization — no teams of volunteers and operatives in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Texas — and well, the rest of the country.

He has no fundraising mechanism in place to raise millions of dollars immediately, right now, this instant. A political candidate must literally spend hours a day on the phone shaking down the money tree. How does Christie balance that time with flying hither and yon participating in debates and pretending he really, really loves being here for Roadkill Barbecue Day in South Carolina?

And thus Christie is left with a hodgepodge of political advisers whose last patron was a thrice-married free-spending pol with a quirky thing for cross-dressing from time to time.

Of course, Christie also has committed the unpardonable political sin, by saying stuff. If you are one of the other Republican presidential Katzenjammer Kids, or an Obama campaign operative, you have to be salivating over using the governor's highly publicized and apparently heartfelt belief that he simply isn't ready to be president.

If you are Christie, how do you spin that?

This election cycle has seen candidates go from conquering hero to dunce in the course of a single debate. What will happen to Christie the first time he argues for some form of gun control, or repeats his belief that simply being in this country illegally is not a crime or once again defends his decision to appoint a Muslim to a New Jersey judgeship?

Why there will be more tea party foaming at the mouth than Cujo meets Old Yeller.

Lastly, there is the — ahem — weight problem.

Putting aside the societal prejudice against people of a certain girth, Christie, who looks to be flirting with at least 350 pounds, confronts a — no pun intended — huge problem should he hit the hustings.

If you've ever run for office or been associated with a campaign, you know that — if you are a serious candidate — it is incredibly demanding work.

A national campaign for president is a brutally grueling physical endeavor involving 20-hour days, constant travel back and forth across the country, bad food eaten on the run, endless meetings and unrelenting stress.

And because the Republican Party can't find another candidate who doesn't come off as loopier than Papa Doc Duvalier, pressure builds on an morbidly obese New Jersey governor who often has to use an inhaler simply to breathe as a possible presidential contender even though the rigors of a national campaign could quite literally kill him.

If Republicans truly believe Christie is their future, the most humane advice the Giuliani refugees could offer would be to tell him: "Governor, drop 150 pounds and we'll see you in 2016 — if you're still around."

Christie eyes White House, but obstacles loom 10/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2011 4:52pm]
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